According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, swine influenza A/H1N1 is a new strain of influenza that has not previously been detected in swine or humans. The virus has also been confirmed in Canada and Mexico. It is still safe to eat pork and pork products.
The Department of Health provided information to all of the state's health care providers and hospitals late Friday regarding the swine flu, including how to quickly report possible cases and how to submit samples for testing. Anyone who has traveled to or from the affected areas and has a respiratory illness should contact their health care provider or local health department before seeking health care.
Swine influenza is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A influenza viruses. Outbreaks of swine flu happen regularly in pigs. Before the current outbreak, people rarely got swine flu, and usually only if they were in very close proximity to infected pigs. However, during the current outbreak, the virus is able to spread from person-to-person.
Symptoms of swine flu in people are similar to those of regular or seasonal flu and include fever, lethargy, lack of appetite and coughing. Some with swine flu also have reported runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Although winter is over, there is still a low level of seasonal influenza occurring in the state.
There is no vaccine available at this time, but the swine flu can be treated with certain antiviral drugs. Persons with swine flu are contagious for up to seven days or longer after the onset of illness, so it is important to take the following steps to prevent spreading the virus to others:
|SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Health|
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